All stories by Clare Brennan on BroadwayStars

Sunday, June 16, 2024

My Fair Lady review – an abso-bloomin’-lutely loverly musical by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseOpera North brings shimmering music to this gorgeous and crisply choreographed co-production, which preserves Shaw’s critique of the British class system Some have called it…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:36AM
Sunday, June 9, 2024

Fanny review – a fun-packed outing for the other Mendelssohn by Clare Brennan

Watermill, NewburyCalum Finlay’s fast-moving comedy about the composer and her struggles to be recognised is pitch-perfectly performed Felix is working out an idea at the piano. What does …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:42AM
Sunday, June 2, 2024

The Bounds review – tale of 16th-century politics and football misses its target by Clare Brennan

Live theatre, NewcastleStewart Pringle’s new play set in Northumberland in 1553 has the bones of something great, but at present teeters on parody Newcastle’s Live theatre is 51 this yea…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:36AM
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Swim, Aunty, Swim! review – a funny, touching tale of female friendship by Clare Brennan

Belgrade theatre, CoventryThree women push themselves beyond the local swimming pool and into the unknown in Siana Bangura’s buoyant, enlightening new play Three women “in their prime”…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, May 19, 2024

English review – acclaimed Iran-set classroom drama is a bit too well-behaved by Clare Brennan

The Other Place, Stratford-upon-AvonThe RSC’s European premiere of Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer prize-winning play tailors its intriguing characters a little too neatly Daniel Evans and Tamar…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, May 5, 2024

York International Shakespeare festival review – the bard without borders by Clare Brennan

York St John University, YorkFootsbarn Travelling Theatre’s Twelfth Night and a Turkish Macbeth rubbed shoulders with manga, memoir and a Ukrainian scratch show at this boundary-defying fe…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:54AM
Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sunset Song review – a lively if melodramatic take on Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel by Clare Brennan

Dundee RepMorna Young’s new adaptation, directed by Finn den Hertog, captures the earthiness of rural life in early 1900s Scotland, but it needs to dig deeper In front of a backdrop sugges…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, April 21, 2024

One Man, Two Guvnors review – this exemplary staging outdoes the original by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeA first-rate cast delight in controlled chaos of the highest order in Conrad Nelson’s seamless revival of Richard Bean’s hit play A couple on the stairs behi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, April 14, 2024

James V: Katherine review – queer love in the time of the Scottish kings by Clare Brennan

The Studio, Edinburgh, and touringThe fifth of Rona Munro’s James plays fails to develop an interesting premise about a hidden romance A dark stage is lapped by flickering candles. Here, f…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:32AM
Sunday, March 31, 2024

Frankenstein review – Imitating the Dog’s experiment never quite comes to life by Clare Brennan

Leeds Playhouse and touringThe company’s trademark fusion of live performance and digital wizardry doesn’t quite hang together in a radical take on Mary Shelley The structure of Mary She…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, March 24, 2024

We’re Not Going Back review – perfectly pitched miners’ strike musical by Clare Brennan

Cast, DoncasterElvi Piper’s fine revival of Boff Whalley’s 2014 musical comedy about three sisters on a pit village frontline in 1984 is full of humour, drama and lived experience Boff W…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:02AM
Sunday, March 17, 2024

Richard, My Richard review – like a medieval version of The Crown by Clare Brennan

Shakespeare North Playhouse, PrescotHistorical novelist Philippa Gregory has fun reframing the notorious Richard III and the women in his life in her first play From a hole in the stage, a v…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:06AM
Sunday, March 10, 2024

Ben and Imo review – Mark Ravenhill’s lively ballad of Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst by Clare Brennan

Swan theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonSamuel Barnett and Victoria Yeates harmonise as the composer and his ‘assistant’ in a production that sings under the direction of Erica Whyman Erica Why…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:36AM
Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bhangra Nation: A New Musical review – big, bright and bursting with energy by Clare Brennan

Birmingham RepA university bhangra dance team is torn apart by cultural differences, seamlessly expressed through music and movement, in this zinger of a show Councillor Liz Clements cried l…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, February 25, 2024

Shed: Exploded View review – formally daring drama lacks conviction by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterInspired by Cornelia Parker famous artwork, and tracking three couples across three decades, Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s play is a clever concept that never catches fi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, February 18, 2024

A Leap in the Dark review – hilarious recreation of the BBC’s first radio drama by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeA top cast directed by Caroline Wilkes revel in Ron Hutchinson’s laugh-out-loud, if overlong story charting the corporation’s first wireless play In the earl…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Fiend; Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood – review by Clare Brennan

Barn theatre, Cirencester; Watermill theatre, NewburyThe deductive powers of the famous sleuth are put to new uses in these inventive if patchy interpretations, one playful, the other musica…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, February 4, 2024

Wish You Weren’t Here review – postcards from a mother-daughter holiday with ensuite tensions by Clare Brennan

Playhouse, SheffieldArchers actor Katie Redford captures the ever-shifting mix of love and pain between parent and child in her conversation-starting theatrical soap opera In a recent interv…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Frogs review – Spymonkey’s fun Arisophanes update by Clare Brennan

Royal & Derngate, NorthamptonThe physical comedy ensemble revives the ancient Greek play in an audacious staging with a tragicomic present-day backstory The keynotes of the time are chao…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:32AM
Sunday, January 14, 2024

High Society review – a fizzing cocktail of comedy, Cole Porter and emotion by Clare Brennan

The Mill at Sonning, ReadingThe stage adaptation of the Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra film is brought to life by a full-of-verve cast in Joseph Pitcher’s fine revival In the g…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, December 24, 2023

Theatre: Clare Brennan’s five best shows of 2023 by Clare Brennan

Our roving critic’s highlights include a bravura O’Casey trilogy, a Lionel Bart classic that delivered more, and a perfectly cast portrait of a marriage Read the Observer critics’ revi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:06PM
Sunday, December 17, 2023

Christmas shows: Evita; Peter Pan review – from Argentina to Neverland, a search for connection by Clare Brennan

Curve, Leicester; Sherman theatre, CardiffThe action feels distanced in Nikolai Foster’s coolly striking new production of the Lloyd Webber-Rice musical, while turmoil stalks the Darling h…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:06AM
Sunday, December 10, 2023

From exhilarating Oliver! to a mardy Beast in the east – three of the best Christmas family shows by Clare Brennan

Leeds Playhouse; Stephen Joseph theatre, Scarborough; Royal Lyceum, EdinburghLionel Bart’s classic musical is all light and shade in James Brining’s in-the-round revival; actors and audi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, November 12, 2023

Do I Love You? review – laughter and pain in John Godber’s northern soul comedy by Clare Brennan

Hull Truck theatre, Hull; and touringThree struggling twentysomethings find solace in dance in the writer-director’s well performed if not quite satisfying new work I caught the John Godbe…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42AM
Sunday, October 29, 2023

Cowbois review – playing with expectations in the wild west by Clare Brennan

Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonGender identity comes to town in writer-co-director Charlie Josephine’s atmospheric but slow-going tale of a disruptive stranger Last year, in I, Joan, at London�…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:07AM
Sunday, October 22, 2023

Flip! review – a Faustian fable for the age of social media by Clare Brennan

Alphabetti theatre, NewcastleIn Racheal Ofori’s bright new play, Leah St Luce and Jadesola Odunjo delight as wannabe influencers whose friendship is tested by the temptations of fame and f…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:25AM
Sunday, October 15, 2023

Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder! review – podcast sleuths are cracking fun by Clare Brennan

Home, ManchesterThe hit Edinburgh fringe musical about two friends on the trail of a killer has been awkwardly expanded but is still a delight The storyline of this 2022 musical centr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:25AM
Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Real & Imagined History of the Elephant Man – a tale for the age of sameness by Clare Brennan

Nottingham PlayhouseThis ‘theatre poem’ by the Australian dramatist Tom Wright lacks drama under Stephen Bailey’s direction An electric-guitar wielding narrator, dressed in black leath…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Group Portrait in a Summer Landscape review – Chekhovian take on the Scottish referendum by Clare Brennan

Pitlochry Festival theatreAn impressive ensemble makes the most of Peter Arnott’s new country house play, set during Scotland’s 2014 independence vote Adaptations of the plays of the pre…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, September 24, 2023

Every Brilliant Thing review – reasons to be cheerful by Clare Brennan

Theatre by the Lake, KeswickThe audience takes on a supporting role to Andrew Turner’s solo turn in this moving paean to what makes life worth living This is not a play, but it is playful;…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:25AM
Sunday, September 17, 2023

Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning review – Hammer horror meets Victorian melodrama by Clare Brennan

His Majesty’s theatre, AberdeenStrong performances are the lifeblood of Morna Pearson’s new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale for the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen P…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM

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